Shattered Dryad

Round 2: Create a Bestiary entry

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka RainyDayNinja

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This woman may have once been beautiful, but her withered body and haggard face betray a twisted psyche.
Shattered Dryad CR 4
XP 1,200
CE Medium Fey
Init +2; Senses low-light vision, tremorsense 60 ft. (within building only); Perception +6
Aura alienation (30 ft., DC 15)
----- Defense -----
AC 15, touch 12, flat-footed 13 (+2 Dex, +3 natural)
hp 21 (6d6)
Fort +2, Ref +7, Will +4
DR 5/cold iron; Immune confusion and insanity effects
Weaknesses building dependent
----- Offense -----
Speed 30 ft.
Melee dagger +5 (1d4-2/19–20)
Ranged dagger +5 (1d4-2/19–20)
Special Attacks structural mishap
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 6th; concentration +8)
At will—warp wood (warp only)
3/day—command (DC 13)
1/day—confusion (DC 16)
----- Statistics -----
Str 6, Dex 15, Con 11, Int 14, Wis 5, Cha 14
Base Atk +3; CMB +1; CMD 13
Feats Iron Will, Stealthy, Weapon Finesse
Skills Climb +7, Craft (sculpture) +11, Escape Artist +13, Handle Animal +8, Knowledge (nature) +11, Perception +6, Stealth +13, Survival +3
Languages Common, Elven, Sylvan
----- Ecology -----
Environment any urban
Organization solitary or pair
Treasure standard (dagger, other treasure)
----- Special Abilities -----
Alienation (Su) All other creatures within 30 feet of a shattered dryad must make a DC 15 Will save, or else be overwhelmed by feelings of abandonment and separation from the things most important to them. A creature that makes this save is immune to its effects for 24 hours. Creatures who fail take a –2 penalty on all attack rolls, and any spells, spell-like abilities, or supernatural abilities it uses have a 20% chance of producing no effect. For druids, rangers, and fey creatures, this chance increases to 50%. This is a mind-affecting emotion effect. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Building Dependent (Su) A shattered dryad is mystically bonded to a single building composed primarily of wood, and must never stray more than 300 yards from it. Her connection to this building grants her tremorsense 60 feet within it. A shattered dryad who moves 300 yards beyond her bonded building immediately becomes sickened. Every hour thereafter, she must make a DC 15 Fortitude save to resist becoming nauseated for an hour. A shattered dryad that is out of range of her bonded building for 24 hours takes 1d6 points of Constitution damage, and another 1d6 points of Constitution damage every day that follows—eventually, this separation kills the shattered dryad. A shattered dryad can never forge a new bond with a new building.
Structural Mishap (Su) While within her bonded building, a shattered dryad can cause the structure to break apart in a violent manner (such as a falling beam or shattering window), dealing 1d6+3 damage to a creature within 30 feet. The GM decides whether this damage is bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage. A DC 15 Reflex save halves this damage. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Most common around the Verduran Forest and other areas where civilization clashes with fey territory, shattered dryads were once normal dryads, whose minds were twisted when their bonded tree was harvested for lumber. This violent separation severed much of their magical connection to the natural world, and warped what remained into a gruesome mockery of what it once was.

Shattered dryads retain a shadow of their connection to their tree, which manifests as a bond with the building constructed from its lumber. They haunt this building, some seeking revenge against its builders and owners, but others fiercely protecting it from those they consider trespassers. Because of this, they are often mistaken for ghosts or mad beggars on the nearby streets.

Goblinworks Lead Game Designer

Hi Joseph, I'm Lee Hammock, the lead game designer on Pathfinder Online. Before that I did lots of d20 freelance work, but I'm probably going to be leaving mechanics more to the more up to date judges and concentrating on story, overall balance, and how I could see using them in a game.

This reminds me of the timberjiff as they are based on similar ideas, but I like this interpretation of the “building made out of a magic tree” better. The writeup just oozes with sadness such that it would really make me feel bad were I to encounter such a creature. It's a sad story that probably has no resolution such that it's probably a mercy to kill the shattered dryad. That is terrible and awesome at the same time.

I liked the special abilities on this one, particularly druids, rangers, and fey being more affected by Alienation. I also love the idea of the shattered dryad using the building to attack people. That is a great visual for an attack. I am curious what happens if the building is destroyed; does the shattered dryad die?

I think this is a Should Vote For.

Paizo Employee Developer , Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

Congrats on making it to this round! May you have the luck and talent to push all the way through to the end!

”How I Judged These Monsters”:

When I develop a monster for the Adventure Path bestiaries, I print out the monster entry, and then go through it in a quick pass, marking up the page with notes and highlighting any problems that I need to address later when I really dig into it. Much of the time I’m circling things in the stat block or flavor text and leaving a quick note. Most often, this quick note pass is performed while I’m writing out art orders for the monsters so I can make sure that the description I give to the artist is what the final monster will be. This is where I make note of any changes I plan to make (some of which I’m sure frustrate some of my freelancers from time to time).

I’m going to judge this round in a similar manner to how I’d treat a monster I ordered from a freelancer if I asked one of my freelancers to just send me something within the same parameters that you’ve been given. My review isn’t anything personal, and since tone is difficult to communicate online sometimes, imagine my comments and critiques read in a friendly and nudging way. To heighten the experience, imagine my comments on your monster written in purple ink. :)

The blue italicized first line in my review was my gut reaction from reading the name with no context whatsoever. It was a fun guessing game I was playing while reviewing the monsters, so I included that note for everyone’s enjoyment. (Spoiler Alert: I was wrong a lot.)

And now to the monster!

I’ve seen and written this trope. Let’s see if it’s what I expect.

I dig that you called out warp only in the SLAs.
AC is a bit low and hit points are almost half of what the target should be, DR doesn’t make up that discrepancy. (Both are also lower than a normal dryad, but this one’s CR is 1 higher.)
Alienation is a bit weird. I’m not sure how I feel about the magic negation effect, especially considering that it is worse.
Building dependent is pretty much the same as tree dependent, but without the ability to form a new bond.
Which brings me to the real question about this monster. How did this happen? If a dryad would eventually die after being separated from her tree, how did she stick around long enough for the tree to be felled, carted to a sawmill, processed, and then used to make a building that this new warped dryad is bonded to? Since tree meld works like meld with stone, as soon as the tree was destroyed the dryad would be ejected, so she couldn’t be merged with the tree the whole time.
Structural mishap is a cool ability that immediately informs GMs how best to use this monster, but the language could be cleaned up a bit.
This monster has some good flavor all around, but it’s not terribly original. I would have liked to see something more unique.
The monster is urban and has a tie to Golarion. This monster would take a fair amount of time to develop for print.

I don’t recommend shattered dryad for advancement.

Webstore Gninja Minion , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

Hi Joseph! I'll be one of the judges for this round, and I'll be looking at a couple of key points for your creature: flavor, GM usability, and how well it fits into the world of Golarion. For some background, I helped found the Wayfinder fanzine before I started working for Paizo, and these are all points that I took into consideration when selecting articles for the magazine. In addition, I oversee every third-party Pathfinder Roleplaying Game product that makes its way onto

Oooh, I really dig this creature's flavor, but I can't help but feel that I've seen it before somewhere, either as a variant creature or mentioned in passing in an adventure. Haven't located it in any of the Bestiary volumes, nor in the Inner Sea Bestiary, so it gets a pass for now, as you've actually codified the concept into something that fits into an urban environment. (Somewhere in the Guide to Darkmoon Vale, perhaps? Hm.) The abilities are pretty neat, but I'm not sure why a dryad would want to cause harm and damage to her bonded building.

GM Usability
The alienation ability is very specific on who it affects for the 50% chance. A cleric who worships a nature deity isn't affected, nor an oracle with the nature mystery, both with similar ties to the natural world as the druid and ranger, but they're not affected. What about plant creatures (or plant PCs, such as the ghoran from Inner Sea Bestiary)? The way this creature is written up seems to indicate that it was a dryad first...but then her tree was cut down and taken to make a house. That kind of presentation makes me think this would have been better as a template, rather than a unique urban fey that is bound to a particular building.

It does have ties to the Verduran Forest, and this creature's origins there certainly makes sense, but it feels more like a displaced forest creature than a truly urban one.

Final Thoughts
Mechanical and flavor issues prevent me from giving this a thumbs up. I do not recommend this monster for advancement.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka theheadkase

Congrats Joseph! I like the name and I like the idea of the creature but I think the execution on it makes it fall short of getting an up vote from me. My short list has already grown more than I expected and this doesn't quite make the cut.

I would not be sad to see you progress, in fact I kind of hope you do, but I can't vote for it.

Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8

Congratulations! I love this!

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

This is a great way to have an 'urban fey,' of which there were a fair number, and is all sorts of moody and tragic. I like it.

I kind of wish the dryad had some way to merge into the building made from her tree, or dimension door around inside of it, or perhaps just a significant bonus to stealth and escape artist checks within her building, allowing her to squeeze through tight spaces and remain hidden from mortal occupants. Her literally 'haunting' the building, all but unknown to the family or business also residing there, could be a neat twist on a 'ghost story' in that the 'haunting spirit' is an actual physical entity that is just hiding in the walls.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32, 2011 Top 4 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka DankeSean

While I'm pretty sure the 'nature-based creature rendered into something horrible by the destruction of nature' idea has seen the light before, I do like the way this does something completely new with it. Normally one would expect to see undead blight dryads or something; you bring us lumber-controlling building spirits. Cool.
That said, I'm going to contradict myself by saying I kind of wish these weren't 'converted' dryads, but something new entirely. Instead of handwaving around the fact that, strictly speaking, these shouldn't exist because the dryad should have simply died with her tree, there could have been some kind of text explaining that the death of the dryad and the tree becoming something else left a gap that some kind of new fey arose from.
Nevertheless, I like these; the idea is clever and you've given them some cool powers (not a fan of alienation, but structural mishap makes up for that in spades.) This is the first entry I've looked at, so can't say for certain where my votes will fall, but this is likely a contender.

Star Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

I like this idea. Again, like the Agoravore and Timberjiff, it's that whole- nature meets civilization idea that I really like- but it's a great way to intertwine an existing concept and follow through with how it might be affected by the urbanization of its habitat.

I don't care for the name- it seems a little too bland and spot-on for the creature. I can see Adam's point about needing to explain some things about how it came to be a little more thoroughly, but otherwise, I really like this.

Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

Not sure why, but i really like this creature. I hate the name - I think it is a great description for what this is, but it needs something with more wow.

I like this much more than the timberjiff, and, whether intentional or not, I get a lot of pulsing JRPG/Japanese horror/Kaidan from this - like a ADnD Oriental Adventure's spiritfolk that went way south and returned….angry and embittered. Spiritually embittered.

A perfect set piece moody locale inhabitant, able to literally bring the house down around you if you piss it off.

A very nice, creative and well executed submission. Well done.

Star Voter Season 7

On first pass, I really like this one. I can just see either an encounter or a full story springing out of the backstory here.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Mark D Griffin

Structural Mishap is really cool, I love the image of the dryad having complete control of the building she's bonded to. I don't like alienation, and I think there may have been some better SLA choices. Ultimately the thing that bothers me most is what was the dryad doing in between having her tree cut down and turned into a building? That needed some sort of explanation in the flavor text, or more likely you should have just not made the dryad connection.

Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

I immediately thought of the "Sundered Woman" that I wrote for a Scarred Lands Creature Collection ages ago.

But I like this creature better. I'm voting for her.

Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

Congratulations Joseph,
I am trying to keep reviews simple to get through them quickly.
Creative: Mostly, I have often wondered what a dryad's tree would be like after falling to the axe, nice job. It's almost a template added to the dryad however, alienation aura being the clincher of course. Structural Mishap is cool.
Fun to GM: bringing dryad into the city, Oh yes, my players willnae know what hit them.
Golarion Tie: Sure that works.

Good luck! :)

I didn't have a lot of time for item reviewing this weekend, so I'm doing monsters instead. First I'll look at how the monster's basic rundown fits the monster creation table, then general theme and abilities.

= Monster meets the target statistics for its CR
+ Monster exceeds the target stats for its CR
++ Monster greatly exceeds target stats for its CR
- Monster's stats do not meet target stats for its CR
-- Monster's stats are greatly below target stats for its CR

hp: --
AC: -
Low Atk -
Low Dmg --
Primary Ability DC: =
Secondary Ability DC: n/a
Good save: +/-
Poor save: -

This monster is low almost across the board for everything. DR helps some. Spell-like abilities a bit more. No SR so saves are a problem. Confusion and insanity effects immunity is minimal as the only thing a PC might have to throw at this CR is lesser confusion. Let's hope the special abilities help this thing pack some punch.

Alienation: Interesting effect, and I like the flavor of it, but I'm not sure it's really the right fit for this monster. Mechanically, the spell and ability failure just strikes me as heavy-handed.

Building Dependent: Fits the theme of the creature.

Structural Mishap: Too weak. Damage should be at least 1d6 + 1/HD, if not more. Given that this building is a shattered (from the monster's perspective) remnant of its tree, I'd be in favor of scrapping the alienation effect and expanding this ability. How about rattling the floorboards to trip charging opponents, or creating difficult terrain? Doors sticking at its whim? You enter its house of pain and you're quite literally in its territory, its own private hell domain in which to share its pain with you for intruding, with any number of possible effects, not just dealing damage. This was a golden opportunity passed by.

I really like the concept of this monster, however I agree that the "how" of something like this happening really needs to be examined and codified. A dryad surviving the process of turning her tree into a house seems very unlikely. A curse forcing her to stay alive sounds very evil, very cool from a game perspective, and very likely. This monster seems off-target, a good idea that didn't see fruition. I did like your item, so the possibility of a vote is still there, depending on what I see from the rest of the entries.

Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 8

At first reading I really like the concept, but then THere are some problems.

The biggest one I have is how is that any of these driad still alive? There is a wood house somewhere in a city and in that house there is a murderous and crazy driad. It seems like the perfect thing for an authority to deal with. You burn the house the driad dies, you rebuild a new house, done.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Champion Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka GM_Solspiral

Shattered Dryad
The Good: Sexy concept, dryad survived and got twisted into something darker.
The Bad: It feels a lot like a debased fey.
The Ugly: Ok ignoring the fact that she survives her tree the main issue for me is that she is over nerfed for her CR and I personally think CR is underpowered as is.
Overall: 7.5/10 - So far I'm leaning towards swimming against the tide and voting for this. It has problems but the coolness of its flavor is winning me over at present.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6 aka Transylvanian Tadpole

I haven't read this yet, but the name just made me go 'yes!'

It'll have to be really terrible on reading not to get my vote.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Steven T. Helt

This concept illustrates how sometimes it's okay to risk violating a rule with a good idea. Although in this case it's really my rule I am talking about and not necessarily anyone else's.

I don't want to see monsters in Superstar that rely on a previous monster to make it cool or to engender votes. In this case, the shattered dryad depends solely on the dryad to make us like it. It's a decent twist on an existing monster, but is that Superstar?

Well...I am not sure yet, but if you're gonna do it do it this way. The monster has a well-informed Golarion connection and tugs at you emotionally. It's derivative, but it is a very organic evolution of the monster type. It has a unique, germane ability that stems from the dryad's misery.

I think Adam's question about how the dryad ever gets here is totally reasonable. The dryad either found a new tree when this one went down (and so the shattered version never happens), or the dryad died when the tree did. Maybe an undead spirit of the dryad would have been a better choice.

The shattered has meh mechanics, but strong mojo and makes for an interesting encounter. I don't want to see derivative monsters in Superstar but I can't deny this one is more compelling than most.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka JoelF847

I really like this entry. The mechanics fit the background, and the description text conveys the monster's motives and tactics well. The structural mishap is a perfect new ability for it. Also, I find urban fey hard to pull off, but you did a good job by making it a fey twisted by urbanization of their home, rather than a regular old fey that develops in cities for some reason.

Alienation is also a great twist on the traditional dryad's charming shtick.

Voting for the shattered dryad for sure.

Liberty's Edge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2012 , Star Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 9

The shattered dryad's structural mishap shows the creature's total mastery of the building it has been incorporated into. Its different enough to its source creature and its new abilities fit the torment it has endured. The Golarion tie is appropriate to the shattered dryad too.

Similarly to the twigjiff, I don't necessarily see this as an urban creature.

I'm considering a vote for the shattered dryad, and I wish you luck in the voting.

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